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Edit: Drafted 21st overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs.
A rookie on the Rimouski Oceanic this season, Frederik Gauthier has made a big impression. He was over a point per game player nearly the whole season, before hitting the “rookie wall” and putting up just 8 points over his final 18 games. The drop off in production near the end of the year for a first year CHL player is not unusual, or unexpected, and really shouldn’t be held against Gauthier. It happens to many 17 year olds who are playing more games, and more intense games than they’ve ever played before in a season, and the endurance needs to be built up. Still it was an impressive year, and with 60 points in 62 games, Gauthier gained the attention of scouts everywhere, and earned a place on the QMJHL all-rookie team.
Gauthier recently represented Canada at the 2013 IIHF Under 18 World Championships. After a slow start in the preliminary rounds, Gauthier really showed his value in the medal round. He had two assists and was player of the game in Canada’s semi-final victory over the Finns. Then on Sunday, he scored what turned out to be the Gold Medal Winning Goal for Canada in their 3-2 victory over the United States. Gauthier ripped a wrister into the back of the US net late in the second period, breaking a 2-2 tie, and giving Canada a lead they would never relinquish.
Born — Mascouche, PQ
Height 6.04 — Weight 219 — Shoots Left
February Rank 20
Gauthier who just turned 18 and likely hasn’t quite stopped growing yet, is already huge. Listed at 6’04” and 219 lbs, Gauthier towers over most of his opponents and can often times look like a man amongst boys out on the ice. Gauthier has shown to be very strong along the boards and in front of the net. Especially good on the cycle, Gauthier is yet another powerforward in the making, in a draft that seems filled with them. He wins a ton of battles, and protects the puck extremely well, which extends plays and buys him time to set up teammates. He has good vision and can thread the needle on his passes out of the cycle game, setting up teammates with great scoring opportunities. Gauthier can also score goals on his own by taking the puck hard to net, or by utilizing his hard, accurate wrister and good release.
For a big guy, Gauthier shows really impressive skating. His top end speed and acceleration would both be ranked as good. He can be a dangerous forward on the rush, and can take defencemen wide. What is really impressive though is Gauthier’s edgework and agility. The agility he shows is really rare in a forward of his height, and combined with good stickhandling he can get by defenders with his quick moves. Gauthier is also well-balanced and powerful, which allows him to protect the puck while fighting off checkers, and power through his man.
Gauthier shows a good two-way game, which is especially impressive for a rookie in major Junior. In fact Gauthier was a finalist for the Guy Carbonneau award, given annually to the best defensive forward in the QMJHL. He wins faceoffs, and is a strong backchecker. He understands the game, and is able to diagnose plays and use his long stick and big frame to break them up. If there is a criticism, its that I’d like to see him throw more big hits given his size and strength advantage at this level.
Gauthier’s style is reminiscent of Jordan Staal. I caution again that this is a stylistic comparison though and not one based on potential. As far as potential goes, Guathier’s size, puck protection skills, shot, and great defensive play all give off the impression that he could be a two way forward at the professional level capable of contributing in the top 6, and matching up against anyone in the league, if he can reach that potential.
Check back tomorrow for our number 22 prospect.
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